I am kaitco

a writer's log

Even later Monday, July 4, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

So the power went out last night and I didn’t get to do what I wanted. Still this feels like the day previous, so I’m going to treat it as such since I wrote this post yesterday, but wanting to save my iPhone in case the outage lasted all night, I’m posting now.

There is a Somalian woman who cleans the trash bins on the floor of the building at first-job. She knows minimal English and our conversations are never more than a “How are you?” each day, but every once in a while, we can manage a little.

I know she has children and she wants to learn enough English so that she can go to college just like I know that she works seven days a week and prays multiple times a day in a quiet corner in the stairwell.

The other day this woman and I were discussing Independence Day and she mentioned to me how July 4th got its importance in 1776. She smiled when she said this and told me that she had to memorize this for her citizenship test.

I saw her several times this weekend and we said our normal “How are yous” but I doubt I’ll ever forget that smile on her face as she stated that independence was in 1776. I’m not sure why, but in that moment especially, I was very, very proud to be an American.

I wrote 390 words today (when church was dismissed for the day) and even though I have long-since been an Anglophile and my subconscious “sounds” British to the point that I often forget and have to “Americanize” my characters’ dialogue and my favorite films are British and my most loved characters are British…still, I’m quite proud that I’m an American.

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What to do… Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I’ve got nothing significant to write about today. Today was just another day; nothing special or fascinating, not that I’d share online, that is.

I wrote 632 words last night (dark eyes were shining and his skin had turned red) and I suppose I could have wrote more, but I spent all night just drafting more notes to flesh out the characters more. I also realized that I’ve got some people to rename. I might keep Amber as Amber, but Dane must be renamed. It’ll be hard enough to hope that people can keep all the A-named folks straight. Having a Dane next to my Damen is a little much.

I think I’ll write some more tonight and hopefully more in the morning before I go off to the first job, but for now, I think I’d just like to sit comfortably (as shown in my Project 365 for tonight) and continuing watching “Bleak House.” I just love British TV and film so much as it is and that fact that Ms. Anderson is playing one heck of a Lady Dedlock just makes me smile and almost ready to willingly delve into some Dickens for reasons outside of getting inside Damen’s head.

…almost.

 

Well, that was a trial Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Filed under: Favorite,Writing — kaitco @ 9:43 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’ve just finished writing the scene where Munnerly approaches Damen about his silence and my mind’s ear is sounding very English right now.

Anyhoo, I just love the fact that I got something written this morning. It required what it always required: shutting off the damn TV. As soon as I turned on music, the writing (and the desire to write) just flowed as naturally as any other day.

I’ve long since known the correlation between what I have playing in the background and my ability to write. I’m not entirely sure when I first identified it, but I’ll gather it’s been a minimum of six years if not a full decade. One of these days, I’ve got to just stop messing around and only play music. When I turn on a TV playlist, it’s meant to distract me when I do other things: cleaning the house, playing the sims, coding, designing, video editing, etc. Writing, however, is a very specific task and whatever brain functions require me to “listen” to the TV and form the image in my mind’s eye cannot multitask. It’s either the TV is on and I’m doing other things or the music is on and I’m writing. TV and writing are my oil and water.

Outside of breaking my unproductive writing fast, today is the eleven year anniversary of when I finished my first novel, A Ten Minute Speech. I was fifteen, practically bed-ridden from my second ankle surgery and determined to finish the novel before the start of the new millennium. I remember how proud I was to just complete the thing. I haven’t really done much with it in about six or seven years, but I still cherish the thought of it and still have the original handwritten copy of that first draft. I can’t remember the time (since I always include a timestamp when I finish), but I can remember the feeling of accomplishment that ran through me. Why I couldn’t, at that time, realize that I should have started aspiring to make writing my goal in life, I don’t know, but I just loved the fact that it was finished; that I had finished a novel at age 15.

Every once in a while, I’ll pull out the old pages and sift through my old writing. When I had started Evan, I was just 11 and still dotted my I’s with circles and I had gone through three or four revisions in hot pink and bright teal pen; I was so young then.

I have no lofty aspiration to complete the novel before the new year any longer since that would require somewhere close to 5K words a day and I just squeaked through 686 today, but I think back on days like today eleven years ago and know that I can do this…when I’m ready.

 

iStruggle Saturday, December 11, 2010

iStruggle. Really, iDo.

Chapter Seven was in need of work. Deep work. So much work that I’m not sure I really got anything accomplished today.

I could say that I wrote/edited 4411 words today, but considering I still have to actually write the prose and the dialogue, I don’t think I’ve written anything at all.

What I did do was struggle to pull together some incomplete, incoherent thoughts, into a long coherent one. I also managed to flesh out Munnerly into a more “living” character. I decided some time after I finished Chapter Three that I needed to cut nearly half of it and focus on only one or two of Damen’s teacher’s. I originally thought I use the chemistry teacher, but he seems rather boring and, unless I made him like my high school chemistry teacher, there was nothing to help tie me to the character. Munnerly, however, has the added bonus of being English considering I’m on this British TV and Film kick and since I plan on a lot of Damen and Brit’s little conversations to take place during their studies for math. In fact, now that I think of it, I’m not sure why I never considered Munnerly earlier since, close to 90% of the conversations and events I’ve planned surround their math class and I even made Anessa into a math major and an accountant just to be able to add her to the random events properly.

Anyway, most of the fun of creating a character that is the antithesis of myself is the research. I spent close to two hours researching the British school system and trying to gain some understanding of what she would already know and how she would have come to be a Briton teaching Americans math. Apart from seeing that I thought the “Tories” were onto something with bringing back the selective grammar schools (seriously, the comprehensive school thing sounds like a pipe dream and I wish we had “select” schools in the States to make people actually value education), I realized that I will have to make a severe change to the Potter story I was planning.

Like any good American, I desire to make the story my own and bring it “home” in the process. A part of this was to make Hermione turn 11 the September after the kids started at Hogwarts, but after reading about the Brits’ school system, it doesn’t seem practical for that to happen since it is very clear that kids start school the first 1 September after they turn five and the same appears to be the same about Hogwarts. The more I read about English schools, the more I saw how closely Ms. Rowling’s imaginary school mirrored the “real” “public” schools in England and Wales (quotes around public because public here and public there are two completely different things). It’s not really that big a thing, but it disappoints me that I can’t make the change and keep the story making some sense. Enough about Potter…

After reading through lists of Brit slang and dozens of Wiki-clicks, I finally thought I had a handle on Munnerly and changed her a little in my mind. When she was just a fringe character, she could afford to be plain and weird, but I imagine that the more Damen sees of her, the prettier she’ll seem to him, perhaps going into his having a jones for older women. Even with Munnerly made a little clearer, the chapter was is a disaster. I don’t know what the heck I was trying to do originally, but it just wasn’t working and was perhaps the worst lead-in to meeting Corey that could ever be possible. Even now, it’s still poo, but I’ll have to live with it until I go back and write the prose.

I guess I’m just surprised and a little disappointed since I was still flying high after last night’s chapter completion. To see so much work needed on an important chapter…it’s just a little daunting.

I think I hit on some important topics to some come later: the love of Chopin, the bits about his father and always being homeschooled and more Brit frustrations and I like the idea of now ending the chapter with meeting Corey. I think I’ll still need to go back and make Munnerly the source of his silence cessation (say that five times fast!), but I like the chapter much more now, than I did when I took a look this morning.

Tomorrow/Today will consist of bringing everything home and actually writing the chapter, so perhaps I really will have 4K words written by the end of the night. I must say, however, this chapter has created more of a struggle and more time spent with my head in my hands staring at white space on the screen and praying for inspiration, than anything else so far. I don’t usually struggle like this, so it’s completely new territory.

I’m not sure I like this part of the journey.

 

 
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